Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Double Review: 'Aftermath' / 'The Hatton Garden Job' 2017 Movie Reviews

Are you ready for a two-fisted double shot of two of 2017's manliest fuckin' movies? Well, you better be, because these two movies exude so much testosterone, women will be walking out of the theater with full mountain man beards.

By: Jimbo X

You know, there's this great verse in the Book of James where Jesus' brother (boy, talk about a hard act to follow!) says something along the lines of "a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." Over the years people have sorta' distorted that to mean that no man can serve two masters, but I think the original King James prose is much more interesting - and relevant - considering the state of affairs in the U.S. these days.

Now, it's not secret that I ain't exactly too fond of liberals. This is pretty funny, seeing as how most of my life, I was a dyed-in-the-wool blue "free abortions for all illegal immigrant gays who need universal healthcare" democrat. I suppose I still have some classical liberal leanings - I'm mostly in favor of gun controlI think big businesses are mostly evil devil worshiping conglomerates and pretty much everything libertarians believe, I reject out of pure principle - but as I've gotten older, the more and more I realize that the great big liberal Tao is just one enormous golly-whopper of a contradiction.

That's not to say that Republicans and anarcho-capitalists and whatever flavors of conservatism that are in between AREN'T free of hypocrisy and logical shortcomings. They are. But in most cases, that stuff is circumstantial, and usually, there's some sort of "you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette" reasoning that can justify the cognitive dissonance. Liberals - the transgender-lovin', white people-hatin', free healthcare, education and rent-wantin' identity politicians they are - however, subscribe to a much greater logical fallacy. In fact, the entire contemporary liberal progressivist ideology is a humongous, waddling, reason-resistant contradiction of terms. There's no way that the modern liberal ideology can work, because it absolutely defeats itself at every pillar and plank of the platform.

Think I'm yankin' yer chain? Just take a look at these six nailed-down tenets of contemporary liberal ideology and try and tell me all these dimmicrats ain't full of grade-A bull hockey...

Contradiction One:
America is a capitalist, corporatist nightmare...

Well, this one might as well be the First Commandment of modern liberalism. Did you know that the top 1 percent of income earners in America possess 99 percent of the nation's wealth? Well, that would be a damning indictment of capitalism, if only it were true. In reality - you know, that thing Democrats spend most of their free time avoiding -  the top 1 percent of income earners in the U.S. actually posses just 20 percent of the nation's wealth, and at the same time pay a whopping 46 percent of all federal taxes. One look at the actual mathematical data shows the exact opposite of what the Democrats claim; the top 1 percent actually PAY more into taxes than the bottom 90 percent of incomers in the country combined. Now, seeing as how almost 70 percent of the $3.9 trillion federal budget goes towards Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and welfare - you know, all those programs liberals just LOOOVE - you would think Democrats would be besotted by all those huge assed corporations, since without their massive income streams, there's no way in mathematical hell they could finance their humongous, bloated entitlement programs (especially since nearly half of Americans pay NO federal income tax whatsoever.) But no, democrats continue to criticize, condemn and actively lobby to destroy multi-billion dollar companies out of some petty, make-believe Marxist class struggle nonsense, completely oblivious to the fact that without those same turbines of commerce, absolutely NONE of their most beloved liberal policies and programs could exist. Hell, they don't even comprehend the basic tenets of their own anti-corporate ethos half the time: after all, weren't these the same kids that protested big business during Occupy Wall Street by having a candlelight vigil for a man who commandeered a one trillion dollar a year company

Contradiction Two:
Americans are, by and large, victims of the system...

Well, this one is just plain stupid. If the system seeks to victimize its own people, how come the feds spend more than $2 trillion EACH AND EVERY YEAR subsidizing its citizens? The mere fact that 40 percent of the federal budget goes EXCLUSIVELY towards medical and welfare services for people over the age of 62 demonstrates Americans are unquestionably beneficiaries of one of the most generous social entitlement states in the history of humanity. And say, where does the U.S. rank in terms of economic opportunity, democratic freedom and quality of life again? Hey, what do you know, our oppressive capitalist dictatorship somehow managed to outscore China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and all those other socialist regimes out there. Who'd thunk it?

Contradiction Three:
The system just plain doesn't work for average Americans...

Oh, you mean our representative democracy? You know, that thing you vote in every two years? If the system "doesn't work," if anything, it's your fault for voting in shitty politicians who don't know what they're doing. Those assholes in Washington don't elect themselves, and if you don't like how things are going, get this - you can vote them out of office. Hell, you can even rally to amend the Constitution to change how people are elected or even who can run for public office, if you actually got up off your fat ass and did something other than complain on the Internet all day. Perhaps the bigger question is if you've been voting for Democrats your whole life and you still think the system is still all shades of fucked, how come you're still voting for Democrats? Which, naturally, brings us to this little sticking point...

Contradiction Four:
Only the Democratic ideals can get Americans out of poverty...

This is a nice thought, until you look at real entitlement spending statistics. If welfare programs like food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit were meant to be one-shot cure-alls for poverty, then how come the programs still exist decades down the road? Democrats said the food stamp program would once and for all stamp out poverty way back in the seventies, but holy shit, today one in six Americans is on SNAP. Furthermore, EITC and other income-based government assistance program spending has monumentally increased  year over year. The logic here is inescapable; all of these beloved Democrat entitlement programs aren't doing a goddamn, motherfucking thing to stop poverty in America, and in all sincerity, are actually making it worse. Instead of eliminating poverty by making people economically independent and self-sustaining, Democrats have more or less invented a permanent welfare state in which millions of poor people (many of them locked in what are tantamount to inner city war zones or literally toxic, rural no-man's-lands out in the sticks) have no choice but to subsist on whatever meager payouts the feds give them because there ARE no jobs or opportunities to earn substantial money legally anymore. Why? Because those same Democrats rallied like motherfuckers to bring domestic job destroyers like NAFTA to fruition, and they're continuing to dilute the job market by prioritizing foreign and illegal immigrant workers over the native born. We've had huge, overarching, social entitlement programs rooted in Democratic policies for more than 50 years, yet somehow, poverty has increased substantially across the board, ESPECIALLY in regions where democratic elected officials practically run unopposed at the ballot. The evidence here, really, is indisputable; not only has half a century of "democratic ideals" done NOTHING to alleviate poverty in America, it's actually made wealth inequality even worse - especially (and ironically) for poor Democrat voters themselves!

Contradiction Five:
Poverty is destroying America...

Alright, so about 15 percent of Americans - that's 45 million people - live below the Federal Poverty Line. That's a lot of people, no doubt, but it's still a smaller percentage of impoverished people than those living in poverty in other economic titan nations like Germany and Japan (and it's certainly a better lot in life than those in Mexico, where almost half the country lives in poverty.) No one is going to say America's poverty problem isn't concerning, but then again, when there are countries out there like India were literally 400 million people are poor, comparatively, we're STILL living high on the hog. The thing liberals NEVER want to address is that even if you're poor as fuckin' fuck in the U.S., you're STILL doing better than 95 percent of everybody else on the planet. Even if you are flat out broke in the States, you've still got a smart phone, air conditioning, clean drinking water, indoor plumbing and essentially free health care (remember, hospitals are forbidden by federal law from turning away people, and if they can't pay, the medical facilities usually just write it off as tax deductible charity care.) Say what you will about unemployment rates and low wage pay, even the poorest of Americans are living among the most comfortable lives of any people on the planet; rest assured, a good 5.6 billion people would GLADLY jump at the chance to live in what liberals constantly describe as our nation's "unlivable" lower-class conditions. 

Contradiction Six:
Our Democratic ideals ARE working...

Then why in the bluest of fucks are liberals hell bent on replacing American policies and programs with gigantic federal collectivist programs that have done nothing but fail and falter everywhere they've been attempted? Why are liberals so hellbent on exporting the disastrous social democratic practices of Europe and Latin America to the U.S.? Doesn't one look at the multitudes of troubles in Sweden and Germany let you know that maybe - just maybe - a laissez-faire approach to open border governance might not be the wisest decision? Considering the unmitigated disaster that was the European Union, why do Democrats think abandoning American economic independence in favor of an even larger global common market is an any way, shape or form a smart decision? Haven't all of those European nanny states - with their shitty socialized health care programs - all deteriorated into insolvency and free expression squelching lite-totalitarian systems? Sweet Jesus in a burning brick canoe, doesn't the fate of Venezuela let you know that the great liberal socialist utopia is just one big lie that can never, ever work in practicePractically EVERYWHERE communism has been implemented, the end dividend has been crushing dictatorial regimes. New wave liberalism seeks to depower the individual and give the state more authority, which in and of itself, is the exact opposite of classical democracy. Rather than empowering the people, the democratic agenda is - and has been for decades - to accumulate as much power for itself to erect its unmanagable, open-borders and open-trade social-democracy welfare state utopia: a system that even half baked commies like Bernie Sanders know can't work, which in turn, would give the federal government an oh-so convenient excuse to assert its strength on the private market and our individual lives even more.

That's the unavoidable paradox of being a liberal in this day and age. You want freedom and equality and think the government can give you both, when - as history has proven time and time again - the inevitable outcome is the state depriving you of both liberty and egalitarianism. That's what happens when you vouch for inclusivity over autonomy and promote emotional ideals over pragmatic socioeconomic realities - not only are you destined to lose self-government, that very government might just look to deprive you of self altogether.

Even as a 70-year-old, old Ah-nold still conveys a sense of unbridled machismo that limp-dicks like The Rock or Channing Tatum couldn't dream of in a million years.

Anyhoo, speaking of things that'll blow your brain outta' the back of your skull, we actually have a damned great double feature lined up this week, with two of the best - and manliest - movies I guarantee you'll see all year long on the docket. Up first, it's Aftermath, a flick starring AH-NOLD as a construction worker who can't wait to see his family flying in for the holidays from Germany or Romania or wherever the hell they're from, but whoops! The guy at the air traffic control desk was too busy pouring himself another pot of coffee to realize two 747s were hurdling headlong into each other over New York state, and well ... let's just say AH-NOLD's wife, mama and pregnant daughter ain't going to be watching Jingle All The Way with him this Christmas

So Ah-nold - who, despite being in Hollywood for 50 years and being the governor of its most populous state, STILL can't speak convincing English - walks back to the parking lot in slow-mo and he just sits there in his car stewin' all night like a Christmas sweater-wearin' Terminator. Then the flick goes all Rashomon on us, letting us see what happened the day of the crash through the air traffic controller guy's eyes. He's this scrawny beanpole looking dude with a face kinda' like Rand Paul's whose eyes literally sink into his skull when the news hits that he's pretty much responsible for the deaths of 271 people. So Ah-nold spends all of New Year's weekend drinking whiskey and Pepto-Bismol and he decides to sneak into the crash site wearing a Hazmat suit and he looks at all the charbroiled headphones and sippy cups scattered all over the forest and then finds his daughter's corpse impaled on a tree limb. Then he just lies between his dead family's body bags and cries the manliest tears anyone has ever wept.

Meanwhile, that air traffic controller guy has had his life royally fucked up by the crash, too. People have spray-painted the word "killer" all over his house and he's so out of it he eats runny eggs for breakfast every morning and tells his therapist that if he don't order him some more dope, he's going next door and robbing the pharmacist. Then Ah-nold falls asleep on his daughter's grave, and - uh-oh - some nosy female reporter shows up and lets him know the identity of the air traffic control guy.

So the air traffic control guy buys a gun and ponders blowing his brains out during a Felix the Cat cartoon, but then he gets the wise idea of legally changing his identity and starting all over again two towns over. Meanwhile, Ah-nold sues the plane company and they offer him $160,000 in damages and all he does is just shove a picture of his dead wife in front of their faces and scream "I want someone to say they're sorry for killing my family," and goddamnit, you believe him

From there, Ah-nold goes full A Beautiful Mind, posting every nook and cranny of his basement with photos of his deceased family and news articles about the crash. At one point, he even mulls jumping to his death, but visions of disintegrating airplane wings, for whatever reason, prevent him from taking his own life.

So flash forward one year later. Ah-nold is at the newly opened victims' memorial (basically, they just put a bunch of white Target balls all over the woods, which was apparently based on his daughter's pearl necklace) while the former air traffic control guy has changed his name to Pat and works as a travel agent. Interestingly enough, Ah-nold has a new job working as a handyman for a dude who looks just like the old pro 'rassler Big Van Vader, and the first thing we see him do is literally mend fences, because symbolism, that's why

But just when it looks like all has been forgiven, here comes that snoopy reporter again, who now has info on the air traffic controller's physical address. At that point, Ah-nold promptly excuses himself from the dinner table, hops in his SUV, purchases a hotel room right across the street from the air traffic controller's new apartment - whose wife and son are visiting him for the first time since the accident - and ... well, you know shit is going to get real, and in a real damn hurry.

We've got 272 dead bodies. No breasts. No car chases. One head-on double airplane collision. Knife to the jugular. Multiple nervous breakdowns. PTSD fu. Dry heaving fu. And the thing that makes the whole movie possible - forgiveness fu

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Roman, the construction worker whose life is turned upside down after his family gets blown to smithereens and spends the rest of the movie plotting his revenge; Scott McNairy as the bug-eyed air traffic controller Jacob, who represents the most diametrically opposite version of the male form you could ever possibly contrast against big, bad Ah-nold; Maggie Grace as the wife of the disgraced air traffic controller, who really doesn't do anything in the movie at all; and Glenn Morshower as Roman's next door neighbor, whose idea of helping a grieving man who just lost his entire family to a tragic aviation accident is to bring him two beers instead of just one. 

Directed by Elliot Lester, whose probably best known for helming the made-for-HBO movie Nightingale from 2015, and written by Javier Gullon, who based the script on the real life story of Vitaly Kaloyev, who only spent two years in jail for knifing the air traffic controller responsible for the 2002 Bashikirian Airlines Flight 2937 disaster and was treated as a a public hero in the wake of his release.

This is quite possibly the first legitimately great movie of 2017, folks. It's an old school revenge drama, through and though, devoid of all of the forced muliculturalism and needless estrogen that usually fucks up films of the like nowadays. This is the kind of movie that would've made Sam Peckinpah and Sam Fuller proud; somewhere in heaven, you just know Lee Marvin and George C. Scott are watching this one on a loop and ain't neither one of 'em haven gotten tired of it yet. 

I give it three and a half stars out of four. Jimbo says definitely check this one out, if the opportunity is afforded to you.

Just give me four crotchety veteran British character actors and a whole bunch of dialogue about committing crimes and I am sold

I don't know if the second bill of our double feature is as good as Aftermath, but it is mighty close. And it's prolly the best heist flick to come out in years - no doubt about it, The Hatton Garden Job wallops the shit out of any of them overhyped Ocean's Whatever movies and it ain't anywhere next to being close. 

Now I know what you're thinking. With a name like The Hatton Garden Job - not to mention it's an all-Brit production - you'd think it'd be some kind of pantywaist melodrama or one of them dry English comedies where you can't understand 95 percent of the dialogue because everybody in the cast sounds like they're gargling on crumpets or something. Thankfully, this flick is all-man and sort of a mini-masterpiece of crime saga minimalism. The folks who made this one prolly only had one week to film everything and about 200 Euros to get the whole thing wrapped up, but by Job, they just plain managed to do it.

Based on a true story (sorta), the flick starts off with this young up and coming criminal who doesn't even have a name going to the slammer and meeting up with this one Hungarian dude who looks The Thing from Fantastic Four and as soon as he's out of the clink he's hooking up with the GMILF-iest GMILF of all-time to coordinate a robbery of a bunch of safety deposit boxes in London's ritziest jewelry store district. The only thing is, he don't trust all of those millennial wannabe gangsters to get the job done, so he meets up with this dude in a windbreaker to assemble a crack team of career heisters - who, as fate would have it, all happen to be north of 60 and about one slipped disc away from buying the farm altogether. So naturally, they bicker and banter in an abandoned warehouse for a while going over the plans, but it's only a matter of time until the posse is intimidating 19-year-old kids in pubs, buying second-hand power tools from Arabs and dressing up like fake garbage men as a lead-in to the outstanding jewelry tomfoolery. 

Since all "heist" movies dating back to The Brinks Jobs more or less have the same plot, you do get all of the expected tropes and cliches here. We've got the gang walking down the street in slow-mo for no real reason and sudden "freeze frame" shots with Goodfellas voiceovers and a whole bunch of intrigue about whether or not anybody in the robbery or paying for the robbery is actually in cahoots with the bobbies. At times, the thing sorta plays it like a REALLY low budget version of American Hustle, and the people who made the flick certainly play that to their strengths. This isn't about building up to a suspenseful, action-packed robbery scene (indeed, the job takes place over Easter weekend, when the streets of London are practically vacant), it's about developing a strong cast of personalities en route to the big heist-a-roo. 

Of course, the real drama in any heist movie worth a hoot is in telling the after the fact part of the story. The big suspense of the subgenre isn't built around whether the heist will be successful or not, but just how long the culprits can steer clear of Johnny Law AFTER said heist. And I ain't going to spoil shit for you, kids - let's just say this one'll keep you glued to the screen literally start to finish. 

We've got no dead bodies. No breasts. No car chases. No kung fu. One joke that takes three minutes of screen-time to get to the punchline. Gratuitous British slang (so expect plenty of "tits" and "sods" in this 'un.) Gratuitous construction helmet size measuring. Gratuitous Johnny Thunder (no, not the plural one.) Security camera spray-painting. Chav informant fu. Insulin injection fu. Sledgehammer fu. Giant pneumatic drill fu. Malfunctioning compressor fu. And - of course, the anchor of any great heist movie - vault cleaning jamboree fu

Starring Matthew Goode as the nameless central character who drops such pearls of V.O. wisdom as "luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity" and spends half the heist worrying about whether or not he tripped a silent alarm; Joely Richardson as the Hungarian mob queen whose Polident-flavored tongue you definitely wouldn't mind having in your mouth; Clive Russell as the getaway driver with chronic emphysema who initially thinks they're risking six years in jails for a $100 heist instead of a $100 million one; David Calder as the massive candy bar addict who says "this is going to be the biggest bingo blag in history!" and serves as the ragtag group's "muscle" even though pure fat makes up 98 percent of his body; and Larry Lamb as the guy who tells the group "we don't want to find ourselves with nothing but our limp dicks in our hands" and conveniently keels over dead halfway through the big job. 

Written and directed by some bloke named Ronnie Thompson, who was somehow able to not only make a movie about a bunch of senior citizens spending three hours trying to drill a hole in a wall entertaining, but one of the best light-hearted crime capers to come along in years.

I give it three and a half stars out of four - Casino, it ain't, but it's definitely entertaining as hell and, perhaps most importantly, never overstays its welcome nor tries to be anything more than it has to be. An increasingly effeminate Hollywood could learn a thing or two from this one - take note,  stewards of the Avengers and Justice League franchises, THIS is how you do an "ensemble" getting the gang together" flick right.


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